Cayoose Creek Water System Connection to Village of Lillooet

Cayoose Creek Water System Connection to Village of Lillooet - Public Comments Invited

Vancouver, BC - 2023-02-22 – Indigenous Services Canada must determine whether the proposed Cayoose Creek Water System Connection to Village of Lilloet project, located in Cayoose Creek IR1 is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.

To help inform this determination, the Indigenous Services Canada is inviting comments from the public respecting that determination. . All comments received will be considered public [and may be posted online]. For more information, individuals should consult the Privacy Notice on the Registry website []. .

Written comments must be submitted by 2023-03-30 to:

Alex Bevan, P.Eng
Senior Engineer, Indigenous Services Canada, BC Region
1138 Melville St., Vancouver, BC, V6E 4S3

The Proposed Project

The District of Lillooet and the Sekw'el'was (Cayoose Creek) First Nation are working on a Municipal Type Service Agreement which would see the District supplying drinking water to the Cayoose Creek Indian Reserve 1 (IR1).  A new dedicated supply watermain would be constructed to connect the existing District water treatment plant to the Band's existing reservoir. Also included in the scope is an altitude valve chamber for reservoir level control, flow measurement chamber for metering, and a pipe crossing at the Lillooet Station Bridge in consultation with MoTI.

Project start and end dates are to be determined following detailed design, likely 2023.

Notice of Determination

Vancouver, BC - 2023-04-04 – Indigenous Services Canada has determined that the proposed Cayoose Creek Water System Connection to Village of Lillooet project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.

This determination was based on a consideration of the following factors:

  • impacts on rights of Indigenous peoples;
  • Indigenous knowledge;
  • community knowledge;
  • invitation for public comment (no comments received); and
  • technically and economically feasible mitigation measures.

Mitigation measures taken into account for this determination are:

Potential Adverse Environmental Effect 1:

Vegetation communities will be impacted through clearing and grubbing, or through other ground disturbance created during construction works. A total of 9,060 m2 low shrub scrubland habitat is within the project footprint and 5,605 m2 of open forest. The actual area of impact will likely be lower than these amounts as vegetation and construction activities will be limited as much as possible to reduce impacts.

Proposed Mitigation Measures:

Preservation of native vegetation at the Project site is necessary to support ecological functions and processes. Protecting native vegetation communities shall remain a matter of high priority throughout these works to ensure normal ecosystem function during future years.

Mitigation efforts to minimize impact to vegetation should include:

1. Retention of as much native vegetation as possible, especially, mature sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata)

2. Salvage of rare and cultural plants prior to work activities

3. Avoidance of equipment within the riparian zone, except at designated access points to be determined prior to construction work and approved by a QEP. Vegetation shall only be cleared in riparian areas if it is absolutely necessary for work to proceed.

4. Protection of all mature trees, in particular if raptor or eagle nests are identified. If mature trees are located within the critical work path, an arborist will be retained to oversee excavation and construction in the root zone of large trees over 40

Potential Adverse Environmental Effect 2:

There is potential for invasive plant species migrating off or onto the site. This may occur via contaminated machinery, equipment, or clothing. It may also occur through the improper disposal of weed species or failing to restore disturbed areas with native species.  The Invasive Alien Plant Program (IAPP) database was searched for invasive species occurring within 1 km of the project site. Nine invasive species were noted including: diffuse knapweed (Centaurea diffusa), dodder (Cuscuta spp.), dame's rocket (Hesperis matronalis), Dalmatian toadflax (Linaria dalmatica), dyer's woad (Isatis tinctoria), European beachgrass(Ammophila arenaria), English cordgrass (Spartina anglica), Brazilian waterweed (Egeria densa), and European hawkweed (Hieracium sabaudum). Of these, there is one known occurrence of dyer's woad that overlaps the project site. This list is not comprehensive and there may be additional occurrences and species at the site.

Proposed Mitigation Measures:

1. Remove any invasive species within the Project area prior to work activities.

2. Minimize ground disturbance and the introduction of invasive plants by restricting construction staging to the location nearest the access road (Roshard Road).

3. Inspect and clean all machinery before entering or leaving the construction site to remove any invasive plant propagules.

4. Remove and dispose of all invasive vegetation off site at an appropriate facility.

5. Ensure all material used on site (e.g., straw, seed, etc.) must be certified weed-free.

6. Plant native shrubs and trees in disturbed areas within the Project footprint upon project completion, to maintain soil stability and to minimize the potential for invasive species colonization.

Potential Adverse Environmental Effect 3:

Clearing and grubbing, work in riparian areas, tree removal and construction activities in general (noise, etc.) all have potential to disturb or harm bird species in various critical stages of nesting and breeding. Construction activities required to attach the watermain to the underside of the Lillooet Station Bridge could impact birds  and bird nests if they are present under the bridge. No nests were observed in the March 22, 2023 site visit, however there is potential for Barn Swallow (SARA – Threatened) to establish nests between now and the start of construction.

Proposed Mitigation Measures:

The recommended timing for work is between September 15 to December 31 to avoid critical breeding, rearing, and mating times for birds. All efforts must be made to conduct work within the least risk timing windows when working in or around the existing old and proposed new bridge, vegetation and other bird habitat.

• Vegetation clearing will be conducted outside the regional bird nesting period (March 1 to August 30) to avoid impacts to migratory birds.

• Bird nest searches during the breeding period are not recommended in areas with moderate or high habitat complexity, such as mature sagebrush or forest with moderate to high understory cover. The effectiveness of nest searches in these habitats is very low.

• In certain areas with low habitat complexity (e.g., unvegetated, sparsely vegetated, isolated trees), bird nest searches may be considered at the discretion of a QEP. In the event that a bird nest search is conducted the following will apply:

- If an active nest is identified, a no-work zone buffer will be established and maintained around the active nest to minimize access and sensory disturbance;

- The buffer distance will vary depending on the species of bird. Therefore, the buffer distance will be determined based on best management practices and the professional judgement of the QEP;

- Nests will be monitored to assess nest activity and effectiveness of the buffer. Clearing (disturbance) can continue once the QEP has determined that the nest is no longer active; and

- If no active nests are found in surveyed areas, vegetation clearing (disturbance) can commence, but must begin within 24 to 48 hours of the pre-disturbance nest survey being conducted.

• Nests of birds in Schedule 1 of the Migratory Birds Regulations (2022) will be reported as required by the regulations and will be protected for the duration of time required by the regulations (e.g., 36 months for pileated woodpecker).

Potential Adverse Environmental Effect 4:

Construction activities in general have the potential to disturb wildlife species. This can occur through increased noise, and the persistent presence of humans and vehicles in wildlife habitat. This disturbance, when near important habitat features, such as dens, hibernacula, etc. can disturb wildlife at critical stages in their life history and lead to more severe consequences, including reduced reproductive success. Additionally, direct encounters such as vehicle collisions, trampling, etc. can cause harm or death to wildlife and humans.

Proposed Mitigation Measures:

General Measures to Protect Wildlife and Wildlife Habitat:

• Observe timing windows to minimize effects to wildlife;

• Inform work crews of the location of wildlife and livestock crossing the construction area;

• The EM will conduct pre-construction wildlife surveys within the final construction footprint and incorporate surveys into site-specific monitoring and mitigation plans;

• Control permanent habitat loss by carefully flagging and restricting clearing to those areas required for construction and the safe and reliable operation of the Project;

• Focus lighting on work sites and away from surrounding areas to minimize light pollution and disturbance to wildlife; and

• If lighting cannot be directed away from surrounding areas, the Contractor must ensure additional mitigation measures are implemented to reduce light pollution, including light shielding.

• Small mammal and mesocarnivore surveys may be required pre-construction by a QEP.

• Assessments of laydowns and other areas/activities that may impact denning, breeding or rearing periods for species will be conducted pre-disturbance.

Avoiding Wildlife-human Encounters:

• Install warning signs at locations with frequent wildlife crossings;

• Ensure doors and windows of vehicles are shut to prevent wildlife from entering;

• Include wildlife vehicle collisions information in tailboard meetings;

• Adhere to the provision of no hunting, no fishing, or cleaning game on or in the vicinity of construction site.

• Workers should be provided with Bear Awareness & Safety Training; all project personnel are responsible for wildlife safety and harm prevention;

• Report bear or other wildlife activity (coyotes, cougar, etc.);

• Potential attractants including petroleum products and bagged lunches should be stored in bear-proof containment and will be removed at the end of each workday;

• Food scraps and garbage from construction site shall be stored in bear-proof containers and removed regularly for proper disposal;

• Dogs and firearms are not permitted onsite; and

• Report human-wildlife incidents to the EM; the Conservation Officer will be contacted if further measures are necessary.

• Instruct workers that wildlife has the right of way unless it is unsafe (for example if a collision is imminent), and:

• Adhere to safe speed limits; and

• Maintain a log of large wildlife sightings and report to the EM.

Project workers shall be prohibited from:

• Feeding wildlife on or near Project site;

• Hunting while on or near Project site;

• Cleaning game on or near Project site; and

• Fishing on or near Project site.

• Adhere to safe speed limits; and

• Maintain a log of large wildlife sightings and report to the EM.

Project workers shall be prohibited from:

• Feeding wildlife on or near Project site;

• Hunting while on or near Project site;

• Cleaning game on or near Project site; and

• Fishing on or near Project site.

Active Mammal Den Sites:

• At all times of the year the EM shall conduct pre-disturbance den searches in and around areas where ground disturbing or clearing activities are about to occur.

• This can include areas that were previously disturbed and left unimpacted for a season or more.

• The results of these searches shall be documented in EM's weekly environmental reports and any new confirmed den sites mapped.

• A 200 m buffer is required for active den sites of species at risk. The buffer is to be established immediately upon identification of the active den until the den site is no longer being used by adults or cubs/kits.

• The QEP shall establish appropriate buffers for all other species with identified active dens and can modify the 200 m buffer dimension by providing a signed site-specific assessment of the den, the species, and the adjacent work, and communicating this assessment every day as applicable in documented tailboard meetings and include the assessment in the

Contractor's weekly environmental monitoring report.

• If a calf or fawn is observed hiding without its mother present, all workers and equipment are to withdraw from the location to a distance determined by the EM.

• Workers and equipment can return to the site once an EM has determined the calf or fawn has been away from the area for at least 24 hours.

Measures for Wildlife Salvage

Wildlife surveys (and potential salvages) must be conducted prior to the start of project activities. If it is necessary to arrange the removal or transfer of beavers, bears or other wildlife from the work-site, the Contractor and EM shall contact the appropriate environmental agencies and acquire any permits required prior to taking action, and follow the approved course of action. Wildlife salvage such as this requires a permit; proceeding without a permit may contravene the Wildlife Act.

In the event that the EM or QEP has deemed necessary the removal and relocation of a species:

• A temporary No Work Zone will be established to protect the wildlife;

• Work within the temporary No Work Zone must be halted until a salvage is successfully completed;

• The EM or QEP will seek and maintain the appropriate salvage permits;

• Relocation procedures may occur as approved by the QEP; and

• Exclusion fencing around the work zone will be used to prevent species from returning during the course of the work.

Mitigation Measures for Amphibians and Reptiles

To avoid harm to amphibians and reptiles:

• The QEP will conduct a presence/absence survey to determine if listed species are within the work zones (e.g., rubber boa, western yellow-bellied racer);

• The QEP shall conduct amphibian and reptile breeding and migration area surveys in advance of ground disturbing activities and alongside active construction roads:

• Areas critical to migration and at the risk of negative interaction with amphibians and reptiles will be identified onsite and communicated to the Contractor.

• The results of these surveys shall be documented in the Contractor's weekly environmental reports;

• Limit vegetation clearing and avoid road construction in identified amphibian/reptile breeding and migration areas;

• If construction is required adjacent to any identified amphibian/reptile breeding and migration areas, implement appropriate barriers and set-back buffers around the sites in accordance with measures for the protection of aquatic and riparian habitat;

• If the QEP determines risk to amphibians and reptiles is likely, and salvage is required to relocate animals, the QEP will obtain the necessary wildlife salvage permits; and

• Work within high-risk areas may be halted to protect amphibians and reptiles until the appropriate permits can be

Potential Adverse Environmental Effect 5:

Construction activities required to attach the watermain to the underside of the Lillooet Station Bridge could impact roosting bats (including species at risk) if they are present under the bridge. No bats or bat roosts were observed under the bridge during the March 22, 2023 site visit, however there is potential for bats to begin using the bridge between now and the start of construction.

Proposed Mitigation Measures:

Expected maternity windows for bat species within the Seton River corridor is April 1 to September 1. Therefore, the leastrisk window for works in or around the existing bridge structure is September 1 to March 31. The Project works are recommended to occur outside the maternity season for bats. If construction activities below the bridge cannot be completed prior to the onset of the maternity season, the following measures should be implemented:

• Prior to the onset of maternity season, the QEP will examine habitat structures flagged as probable for bat use (including trees, crevices/caves, and the bridge structure) for signs of bat use (guano accumulation and suitable cavities);

• Determine applicability of wildlife permits to exclude the use of the bridge by bats prior to the onset of maternity season; and

• During maternity season, a QEP will conduct a series of bat surveys prior to any work occurring within the maternity season.

Potential Adverse Environmental Effect 6:

Work adjacent to, and above the Seton River has the potential to negatively affect fish and fish habitat. Potential impacts to fish and aquatic wildlife include soil erosion, sedimentation, and spills during construction.

Proposed Mitigation Measures:

No instream work is planned for the project. In the unlikely event that that changes, the following will apply:

The Fishery Timing Window is the time period of reduced risk for anadromous and resident fish species for all critical life stages within the Seton River. The regional Habitat Officer for the Thompson-Okanagan Region has identified the Period ofLeast Risk Instream works in the Seton River as August 7-15 (see Table A-9 in Appendix A for rationale). Any activity within the wetted perimeters of the Seton River shall be carried out only within the Period of Least Risk, unless a variance is

granted for this work. General mitigation measures for working near the Seton River are as follows:

• Instream works will be carried out in accordance with the Standards and Best Practices for Instream Works (BC MWLAP 2004) and Best Management Practices for Site Restoration or Maintenance (Government of BC 2022);

• Construction activities will follow Fisheries and Oceans Canada's Land Development Guidelines (DFO, 1993) to maintain the quantity and quality of fish habitat at the productive level present before development activities occurred;

• All activities below the high-water mark of any watercourse should be kept to an absolute minimum;

• Machinery and equipment shall not be operated below the high-water mark of any watercourse other than the terms of authorizations and permits issued by environmental agencies;

• An EM shall be present during any work below the high-water mark of any watercourse during the works.

• Limit disturbance to banks, riprap, and instream sediments;

• Complete instream work in as short a period as possible;

• Work during low-flows where practical;

• Minimize and avoid impacts to riparian areas. For example, minimize the footprint of clearing and grubbing;

• Undertake works during appropriate weather conditions and low flows, and complete work as soon as possible, once started;

• Instream works should be conducted in isolation of flow;

• Instream works proposed outside of the least-risk window will require additional mitigation and may require consultation with regulators; and

• The EM will be given at least two weeks notice of the anticipated start of instream construction in order to schedule surveys and/or salvaging if necessary.

Erosion and Sediment Control and Spill Management

The following erosion and sediment control measures will be followed during construction:

• Silt fencing and/or other appropriate infrastructure such as straw waddles, etc. will be installed at the limit of disturbed areas as needed to capture sediment;

• Stockpiles of excavated soil will be covered and secured to prevent erosion;

• Water diversion outfalls will discharge to areas of gravel or dense vegetation where water can infiltrate into the soil and will not cause erosion; and

• Silt fences and/or check dams will be used to reduce water velocity and erosion moving through ditches until soils are stabilized.

The following spill prevention measures will be followed during construction:

• Water used in concrete works (mixing, washing, curing, runoff, grout, etc.) will be managed to prevent entry into storm drains, watercourses, and/or the foreshore. Concrete/grouting wastewater will be removed off site and disposed of at a facility that accepts hazardous materials;

• All fueling of vehicles and equipment will be done off-site or onsite in a designated fueling area over a spill containment tray at least 30 m from any storm drain, watercourse, and the foreshore;

• All equipment washing (i.e., concrete truck washout) must be done off-site or onsite in a designated area at least 30 m from storm drains and ditches in a manner that will prevent wash from reaching any waterway;

• Generators, pumps, and other stationary equipment will be placed on spill trays. Generators will be located at least 30 m from any waterway;

• All machinery will be clean, in good working condition and free of excess oil and grease. Equipment will be inspected daily and documented;

• Containers will be labelled according to the Transportation of Dangerous Good Act and Workplace Hazardous Materials Information Systems (WHMIS) regulations;

• Oil waste, filters, absorbent pads, and cartridges will be collected and disposed of off site at an appropriate facility in accordance with federal, provincial, and municipal regulatory requirements;

• Spill kits will be on site and installed in each piece of machinery, and staff trained in proper use;

• Any spill of a listed substance according to the Spill Reporting Regulation will be immediately reported to the Provincial Emergency Program 24-hour phone line at 1-800-663-3456. Splitrock Environmental and Kerr Wood Leidal will also be notified of the spill; and

• All construction materials, garbage, and erosion and sediment control materials will be removed from the site after the Project is complete and disposed of or recycled at appropriate facilities.

The following site restoration measures will be implemented to prevent sedimentation and erosion after construction:

• Ditches, construction areas, and open soils will be stabilized with native vegetation/seeding and mulch immediately after construction.

Potential Adverse Environmental Effect 7:

Potential impacts to air quality and noise-sensitive receptors are anticipated during construction due to use of gas and diesel powered construction machinery. Air pollution from construction equipment includes contributions to greenhouse gases, fine particulate matter, and nitrogen oxides (NOx). Noise-sensitive receptors present within the project area include over 30

Proposed Mitigation Measures:

The following mitigation measures will be implemented to reduce adverse impacts to air and noise:

• Construction activities will be scheduled during daylight hours to reduce noise impacts on residences, and adhere to applicable bylaws of District of Lillooet and CCIB;

• Regular maintenance of equipment will occur to ensure equipment is not leaking, will not produce excess noise, or produce more harmful emissions than necessary; and

• Diesel engines will adhere to local and provincial emissions standards.

Potential Adverse Environmental Effect 8:

Potential impacts to socio-economic, culture, and heritage resources are not anticipated during construction. See the Archaeological Overview Assessment for additional information on archaeological resources. By improving the reliability of water infrastructure, the project is expected to have strong positive impacts on community safety and well-being.

Proposed Mitigation Measures:

An Archaeological Overview Assessment (AOA) was completed by WSP. An Archaeological Impact Assessment (AIA) will be completed prior to construction. Avoidance and mitigation measure for potential adverse effects to heritage resources will be listed in the AIA.

Environmental Monitoring:

Environmental management is required during construction. It is recommended that the contractor prepare a Construction Environmental Monitoring Plan which incorporates all the mitigation measures identified in, but not limited to, this document and an Archaeological Impact Assessment. The contractor will also need to produce an Erosion and Sediment Control plan identifying the type and location of erosion control structures to be installed and maintained during construction. A part-time Environmental Monitor (EM) should also be used to provide independent oversight of construction practices.

Indigenous Services Canada is satisfied that that the carrying out of the project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.

Therefore, SEKW'EL'WAS (Cayoose Creek Band) may carry out the project, exercise any power, perform any duty or function, or provide financial assistance to enable the project to be carried out in whole or in part.


Latest update

The assessment is in progress.



Indigenous Services Canada
Alex Bevan, P.Eng, Senior Engineer
1138 Melville Street
Vancouver, British Columbia V6E 4S3

  • Location

    • Cayoose Creek IR 1 (British Columbia)
  • Nature of Activity

    • Water Management
  • Assessment Status

    In progress
  • Start Date

  • Proponent

    SEKW'EL'WAS (Cayoose Creek Band)
  • Authorities

    • Indigenous Services Canada
  • Assessment Type

    Project on federal lands
  • Reference Number


This map is for illustrative purposes. The markers represent the approximate locations based on available data. More than one marker may be identified for a given assessment.

Nearby assessments

...within 200 kilometres
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